Born and raised in Michigan, I never thought I’d call the “great north” home. But alas, 8 years and counting, here I am — a marketing and tourism professional, raising a family in my true “happy place,” northern Michigan.
While it’s part of my job to encourage and help our guests take advantage of all things Stafford’s, summer is hands down my favorite time of the year. The small communities come to life, there is so much to do all season and do I even need to mention the sunsets? (Pictured below is a favorite spot to watch on Burt Lake – a quick drive from Alanson).
There are so many things to experience during the summer months. And while we are in the middle of August already(!), there is still plenty of time to jump in and enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Here’s my list of things to do while in northern Michigan.
- Make a Splash at Petoskey State Park. We love this beach. It’s clean, big and lots of sandy shoreline. We spend a lot of time there splashing in the waves, building sand castles and searching for treasures! They even have kayak and paddle board rentals available!
- Walk Sanctuary Island. Where else can you find a hand-cranked ferry? Alanson! This is a neat spot and a regular one on our many walks as a family. We crank it over, walk around and take in the Crooked River like no place else!
- Hunt for Petoskey Stones. Always a “must-do” when company visits, we gather the buckets, spray bottles (they are easier to spot when they are wet) and head to the lakeshore to hunt. Magnus Park is a great spot to start.
- Walk or Bike The Little Traverse Wheelway/North Western State Trail.The Little Traverse Wheelway, is a 26-mile paved path, stretches from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs. There are many areas to park and walk/ride. Our favorite begins at the Waterfront in Petoskey heading west to Bay Harbor. The North Western State Trail, extends from Petoskey and soon to Mackinaw! There is a stretch of paved path from Alanson to Petoskey and it’s a great way to take in nature.
- Visit the Oden State Fish Hatchery in Conway. Nature, fish ponds, nature trails and a viewing chamber are some of our favorites here. Easy access right off the highway, and the North Western State Trail goes right by it!
- Free Concerts. From strolling the streets in Boyne City to Street Musique in Harbor Springs, or pulling out a blanket for a concert in the park, northern Michigan is not short on talent! All kid-friendly, too!
- Day Trip to Mackinac Island. And get there early to catch a Mighty-Mac Departure from Shepler’s Ferry! This was such a cool ride, cruising under the Mackinac Bridge. There isn’t a better way to see this beautiful bridge up close.
- Dine Al Fresco. Outdoor dining doesn’t last long in northern Michigan and the scenery never tires. My favorite spots include Jeff’s Deck in Charlevoix, Dudley’s Deck in Harbor Springs and Legs Inn in Cross Village (great Polish food)! Admiring the yachts, boats and scenery add to the ambiance and won’t disappoint.
- See the Area by Water. Exploring the area via water is pretty darn relaxing! I’ve taken three throughout my summers here and can personally recommend Riverboat Tours in Alanson, The Pointer Boat in Harbor Springs and Keewanaw Excursions in Charlevoix. The Riverboat Tours in Alanson is aboard a comfy pontoon and cruises the Crooked River. Capt. Gary is quite entertaining, and the scenery is the perfect painting of northern Michigan nature. The Pointer Boat in Harbor Springs is docked at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant. It’s the only way to see Harbor Springs from the water (unless you rent or have your own boat)! You will see Harbor from a completely different perspective. And finally, the Keewanaw Star in Charlevoix explores Lake Michigan, the Pine River Channel and Round Lake. Cruising through the channel instead of watching the boats cruise by was so enjoyable.
Enjoy the rest of summer! ~ Becky
Becky Babcock is a Central Michigan University Alumni (Fire Up Chips!) and is currently is the Marketing Director for Stafford’s Hospitality, Inc. A mom to a crazy-but-oh-so-lovable two year old and a wife to a hard working husband; she enjoys photography, being outdoors, drinking wine and spending time with family and friends.